Van Criekinge, Jan

Jan Van Criekinge
3 April 2004Comment

Angola is one of the countries in the world that has been most affected by war and violence over the past four decades. The country lies devastated, its infrastructure destroyed, its citizens brutalised by four centuries of slavery, colonialism, war, bloody political conflict and corruption. The long guerrila war (since 1961) against Portuguese colonialism under the Salazar dictatorship did not even stop with independence in 1975.

Divided among three rival movements, MPLA, UNITA and…

3 March 2001Comment

On 16 January 2001, president Laurent-Désiré Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. Was it just the action of one individual taking revenge? Or was it another step in the Central African power game, in which DR Congo is, more than ever, the keystone in the first African World War? Jan Van Criekinge reports.

Since October 1996, the war, in what was then still called Zaire under the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, was not just a regional conflict, neither an ethnic struggle. From the beginning of the uprising of the loose AFDL coalition, led by the unknown Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a veteran rebel fighter and gold smuggler from the days of the struggle after independence from Belgium in the early sixties, the real power behind it came from Rwanda and Uganda.

In the…